Today Google announced upgraded Maps for Android, with the addition of a new mobile version of Places (not to be confused with the Android app Places Directory). It enables users to browse categories of businesses nearby (bars, ATMs, gas, etc). It also allows users to create custom categories (e.g., “free wifi”).
The data presented are from the same database that’s behind Google Maps/Places online and exposed via Places Directory as well as “near me now” and Google Local on the mobile web.
The central difference between Places Directory and Places is the cleaner appearance of Places and a search box, which doesn’t exist on Places directory. In addition the profile pages themselves more directly resemble Places online.
The new Android Places application (not on the iPhone) is just one of many Google doorways into local content on mobile devices:
Google has thrown a great deal of “spaghetti on the refrigerator” when it comes to local-mobile. Over time it will need to refine and more closely integrate its products, which the company is starting to do.